Violence Against Women—A Global Problem
NOVEMBER 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1999 with a view to raising public awareness of violations of the rights of women. Why was this step deemed necessary?
In many cultures women are viewed and treated as inferior or as second-class citizens. Prejudices against them are deep-rooted. Gender-based violence in all its forms is an ongoing problem, even in the so-called developed world. According to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “violence against women is global in reach, and takes place in all societies and cultures. It affects women no matter what their race, ethnicity, social origin, birth or other status may be.”
Radhika Coomaraswamy, former UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on violence against women, says that for the vast majority of women, violence against women is “a taboo issue, invisible in society and a shameful fact of life.” Statistics issued by a victimology institution in Holland indicate that 23 percent of women in one South American country, or about 1 in 4, suffer some form of domestic violence. Likewise, the Council of Europe estimates that 1 in 4 European women suffers domestic violence during her lifetime. According to the British Home Office, in England and Wales in one recent year, an average of two women each week were killed by current or former partners. The magazine India Today International reported that “for women across India, fear is a constant companion and rape is the stranger they may have to confront at every corner, on any road, in any public place, at any hour.” Amnesty International describes violence against women and girls as today’s “most pervasive human rights challenge.”
Do the statistics mentioned above reflect God’s attitude toward women? This question will be discussed in the next article.